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Why the Saints could win it all, Part IV: Wide receivers

You “Can’t Guard Mike.”

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Bringing back a series of pieces from the past three years, we’re going to check each position group on the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2020. On to the Saints wide receivers!

To view previous parts, see below:

Part I: Offensive Line

Part II: Running Backs

Part III: Tight Ends

The New Orleans Saints’ wide receivers were abysmally mediocre in 2019 beyond Michael Thomas. Michael Thomas set or matched career-best numbers across the board in 2019, leading the league in receiving yards with 1,725, and breaking a 17-year-old NFL record with 149 receptions on the season. At the end of the day, this was enough to win Thomas the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year award, the first wide receiver to win since Jerry freaking Rice.

Unfortunately, all other Saints receivers combined failed to top the 1,000-yard mark. Tre’Quan Smith finished with only 234 receiving yards, and Ted Ginn Jr. wasn’t much better, totaling 421 yards in his final season with the Saints before signing with Chicago Bears in the offseason.

So here’s why they’re better in 2020:

A second wide receiver was considered by many to be the Saints biggest need heading into this offseason, and the Saints answered the call, adding Emmanuel Sanders to the offense on a two-year deal.

A former Super Bowl champion, Sanders is a two-time Pro Bowler who helped tip the scales in the 49ers favor last trade deadline. San Francisco struggled on offense early in 2019, and then snagged Sanders in a trade from the Denver Broncos.

While many Saints fans clamored for the Saints to sign a third receiver, the Saints chose to stand pat, instead choosing to roll with their remaining roster. Between Tre’Quan Smith, Taysom Hill, and All-Pro return specialist Deonte Harris (whose role in the offense grew as the season went on), the Saints likely feel confident at wide receiver. That’s not to mention the possibilities that running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery could present if lined up in the slot.

But the biggest reason we should see improvement from the Saints wide receivers is due to the addition of Emmanuel Sanders to the offense with the other Saints skill positions. Add Sanders to:

Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas;

Pro Bowler Jared Cook;

Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara;

First Team All-Pro Deonte Harris; and

Swiss-Army Knife, Taysom Hill, and it will be practically impossible for opposing defenses to focus on everyone.